Ohio Senate Race

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Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Here's what you have to do sometimes when you are covering politics.

You have to drag yourself to some boring old parlor at a downtown hotel early on a Tuesday morning so you can witness a politician – in this case, GOP Senate candidate Jim Renacci – sign his name to two big pieces of cardboard.

Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown opened his fall re-election bid Friday with an attack against his Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, over the Congressman's period as a registered lobbyist.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

Republicans search for a new candidate to oppose Democratic incumbent senator Sherrod Brown after Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel withdraws his candidacy. The Ohio governor's race continues to shape up as more candidates pick running mates. Democrats may tap a local politician to run against Republican incumbent Steve Chabot in the house. And the Kentucky General Assembly is in session. 

There are those who are ready to stick a fork in the U.S. Senate campaign of former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and declare him done.

Strickland, of course, is not among them.

  "Odd" is a word that describes many things about the 2016 election cycle, beginning with the presidential race and working its way down to the bottom of the political food chain.

It's certainly a good word to describe recent events in Ohio's U.S. Senate race, where incumbent Republican Rob Portman is trying to win re-election over former Democratic governor Ted Strickland.

Donald Trump and (presumably) Hillary Clinton will be the featured bout in this November's election in the key swing state of Ohio, the bellwether of presidential elections for as long as anyone can remember.

But the undercard fight in Ohio is a pretty good one too.

Former Democratic governor Ted Strickland and Republican incumbent Rob Portman are in a virtual tie for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

The same poll shows that Ohio Gov. John Kasich, if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee, would easily defeat either former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Ohio, a crucial swing state in this fall’s presidential election.

There are many odd things about this battle within the ranks of Ohio Democrats over the U.S. Senate seat, with 30-year-old P.G. Sittenfeld, the council member from Cincinnati, taking on the 74-year-old former governor and congressman, Ted Strickland.

First, there is the fact that Sittenfeld, despite having the entire Ohio Democratic Party structure lined up against him, and the national party too, shows absolutely no sign of dropping out of the race against Strickland who has the lead not only in name recognition but in money raised.

But that’s not the strangest thing.